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Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. It happens everywhere, and it could happen to you. Learn more about identity theft and prevent becoming a victim.


What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft involves the unauthorized use of another person's personal identifying information or financial identifying information to obtain cash, property, services or otherwise gain a benefit.


Common Forms of ID Theft 



Flagging is placing the red flag on your mailbox in the up position to alert the mail carried know there is outgoing mail. This also alerts identity thieves and tells them information is available to be stolen.



Skimming is the practice of using a small electronic device to capture the information encoded in the electronic strip on the back of credit cards, debit cards and driver's licenses. Identity thieves can use skimmers to steal information in a variety of situations.


Motor Vehicle Trespass

A trespass to a motor vehicle involves someone breaking into a locked or unlocked vehicle to steal something of value. Identity thieves often break into cars to steal visible wallets and purses and use any credit cards or account information they find.



Phishing is the deceptive use of email messages, social-networking sites, instant-messaging sites or cell phone text messages to steal your personal data (date of birth, credit card information, PIN numbers, passwords and more!).

  • You believe the request for information comes from a legitimate source, but the message is from the thief. The message has been designed and written to appear to be from your financial institution.

  • Your bank will never send you an email message asking you to verify or provide account information, but identity thieves use this form of deception to steal and use your information.



Social Engineering

Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. The term applies to deception for the purpose of information-gathering or requesting money.

  • The practice is often seen in dating websites.

  • A target victim will be lured by ongoing conversations with a person who seems legitimate and asks for money to be sent to help them with a catastrophe of some sort, usually a hospital bill or something similar.

  • Sometimes a victim will be targeted by telephone. The target will believe they are speaking to a grandson or granddaughter who needs money to help them get home or out of jail. These are also considered identity thieves!



What to Do if You Believe Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Report the crime immediately to local law enforcement. If the crime took place in unincorporated Gilpin County, call (303) 582-5511.


What to Do if You Have Become a Victim of Identity Theft

  1. Call your credit card company or bank as soon as possible to report and dispute the fraudulent charges and close the affected account(s). Law Enforcement will need any credit card statements, copies of checks or other information you obtain for their investigation.

  2. Report the crime to the local law enforcement agency where you live. Have any documents or copies of documents available for the officer when making your report.

  3. Contact ALL three major credit reporting agencies to place a "fraud alert" or "credit freeze" on your name and social security number and request a copy of your credit report:
    Equifax,  1-800-525-6285
    Experian, 1-888-397-3742
    TransUnion,  1-800-680-7289

  4. Explore other available options:

    1. Make an ID theft report to the Federal Trade Commission  online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.

    2. Visit the Colorado Attorney General's website  for an "Identity Theft Repair Kit."



Alert on Motor Vehicle Record

If your driver's license/ID number has not been used fraudulently, but other identity theft has occurred, you may contact your local motor vehicle office to request an alert on your record to deter further fraud. Please be aware that an alert may cause closer scrutiny of anyone - including you - trying to obtain a license/ID in your name or gives your identification to law enforcement personnel.


Postal Holds

You may wish to call the U.S. Postal Service at 800-275-8777 and request to have your mail held at your local post office for pick up. This will prevent your mail from being intercepted by the individual using your identity.


Check-Approval Companies

Contact check-approval companies to determine whether your driver's license/ID has been used to write bad checks.

  • National Check Fraud Service: 843-571-2143

  • Scan: 800-262-7771

  • TeleCheck: 800-710-9898 or 800-297-0188

  • CrossCheck: 707-586-0551

  • Certegy, Inc.: 800-437-5120

  • International Check Services: 800-526-5380



Replacing Documents

There are various organizations that can help you replace documents that may have been stolen or lost and place alerts on those records.

  • Birth certificates and other vital records: call the state's vital records office or visit 

  • Social Security cards: 800-772-1213 or 

  • BCIS (INS) documents: 800-375-5283

  • Passports: 877-487-2778



Do's and Dont's for Identity Theft


  • DO store your personal information in a safe place; e.g. in a locked cabinet or other locked location in your home.

  • DO shred credit card receipts, old bank statements or any extraneous documents with your personal information.

  • DO protect your PIN and passwords.

  • DO remove your name from mailing lists for preapproved credit offers and your phone number from telemarketers' lists. To opt-out of preapproved credit offers, call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT and place your number on the National Do Not Call Registry

  • DO take your outgoing mail directly to the post office, or place your mail into a blue mailbox.

  • DO check your credit card and bank account statements regularly.

  • DO request and review your credit report each year.

  • DO close all extraneous or unused credit card and bank accounts. Keep only those accounts you regularly use.

  • DO contact your creditor or service provider if expected bills do not arrive on time in the mail.

  • DO protect your mail from theft. Opt for replacing your old mailbox with one that locks mailbox.

  • DON’T give personal information to anyone by phone, mail or Internet unless you initiated contact.

  • DON’T carry your social security card in your wallet.

  • DON’T write your PIN number on the back of your ATM or debit card.

  • DON’T leave your social security card, credit cards or identification cards in your vehicle.

  • DON’T preprint checks with your social security number, driver's license number or phone number.

  • DON’T choose PINs/passwords that are easy to guess. Create a PIN or password that contains a combination of numbers and letters.

Identity Theft Protection

While there are many different services available which offer identity theft protection and to help rebuild your credit if your identity has been stolen, it is very important that you follow all other preventative steps outlined above. If you are interested in Identity Theft Protection services, the following website offers a side-by-side comparison of the different services available:


This site is provided as a public service, for informational purposes only. Please note that users of this website are responsible for independently verifying any and all information. The inclusion of links from this site does not imply endorsement or support by the Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office of any of the linked information, services, products, or providers.

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